USDA Secretary Mike Johanns released a summary of more than 4,000 comments from the 52 USDA Farm Bill Forums held since last summer in 48 states. The comments were summarized and placed into 41 general subject themes for further analysis.
The 41 comment summary papers include three sections: factual background data about the topic, a summary of general opinions expressed, and a list of specific suggestions that are conveyed. The summary papers, including ones on ag concentration, animal welfare, and country-of-origin labeling can be found on USDA's Web site at www.usda.gov.
Some of the opinions expressed on ag concentration include: Eliminate the use of mandatory arbitration in contracts for the livestock industry.
Restrict a packer from having more than 25% of its slaughter mix/plant/day from captive supplies.
Packer ownership of cattle allowed only one week prior to slaughter.
Require contracts be written in plain language. -- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., corresponde